Hyundai has a hybrid weakness – Abiteboul

Hyundai's team principal doesn't fully blame Compact Dynamics for Esapekka Lappi's hybrid failure in Estonia


Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul says the installation of the hybrid unit is a weakness of the i20 N Rally1, which is in part why Esapekka Lappi lost the use of his system on Friday in Estonia.

Lappi had to complete practically the entire morning loop without the additional 130bhp when the hybrid system, supplied by Compact Dynamics, failed after a heavy landing over a jump.

Although he initially shouldered some of the blame and called the severity of the jump “my mistake”, Lappi clearly wasn’t overly impressed by what happened as he later described the landing as “a bit too hard for the mystery box”.

But Abiteboul feels Hyundai must take some of the responsibility for the failure.


“It’s not entirely Compact Dynamics’, the supplier of the hybrid, issue,” Abiteboul told DirtFish.

“They are fragile components for sure, but we do have a weakness on our car. I think our installation is a bit, you know, it could be a bit better. It’s been already reported. We need to work on it.

“I’ve been on the receiving end when I was supplying engines in Formula 1. It’s not always… the smoke is not always coming from where you think it’s coming so I need to be fair with that!

“There is fragility and I think that Compact Dynamics could help us in having a product that is a bit more robust, more fit for the purpose of rallying which clearly receives lots of shocks.

“But we also need to take that on board in the way that we designed the installation. So that’s one of the things that we’d like to do but again, we’ve got so many restrictions in that area that it’s a challenge.”


Asked where the issue is with the installation, Abiteboul responded: “I’m not saying it’s an issue. I’m saying that it’s something that we need to make stronger.

“We need to get the car stronger, lighter, simpler and that’s really the motto of FX [François-Xavier Demaison, technical director] as you know.

“So he has contaminated me already with that motto and that part of one thing that we need to do as soon as we can also on the hybrid. Because as you say, we’ve had a lot of problems with that since the start of the championship.

“So you know, we need to look also at our own garden and not always point fingers at other parties.”

Given that the installation weakness appears to show up on large jumps, with Rally Finland on the horizon, Abiteboul admitted that resolving it is a priority.

“There are a few things that we can do, we will be looking at what can be done but it’s mainly hitting us on the big jumps we’ve had that problem,” he said.

“It was always difficult to balance the speed at which you need to take those jumps, so it’s a difficult thing, something that again we’ve been dragging for a bit too long, so something that I think’s going to be solved as soon as possible.

“We need to get it fixed, but we need to have a strategy for that. But we have that in mind.”